Don't you just love walking into a space that's beautifully cleaned and organized? If you are having a hard time figuring out how to keep your own space feeling tidy and manageable try these five tips to getting your house cleaner in less time than you'd think!
1. The less stuff you have means the less time you have to spend cleaning. It is very difficult to do a "quick clean" of a kitchen that is overrun with small appliances, piles of mail, cereal boxes, bowls of past-their-prime fruit and groceries that never quite made it into the pantry. One of two things will likely happen: 1. you will only be able to wipe down a small percentage of your workspace or 2. you will spend all your time trying to put stuff away and then you will get distracted and walk away because you've run out of steam. Either way, your kitchen didn't get that much cleaner from your effort.
This is true for every room in your house. If you are tripping over stuff on the floor and can't see any flat surface because they are all covered in stuff, you will have a really hard time ever feeling like you can get your house clean.
The best approach to dealing with this is to begin decluttering today. Pick one room to work on and then begin with one area of that room. Start throwing out anything past its prime and removing any items that don't belong in that room. Set a timer and work on this for no more than 15-30 minutes at a time.
It's far better to start on a small area and complete it than to try to overhaul a whole room and never finish it.
Once you finish a small area, move on to the next. Don't zigzag through your home doing this; commit to working on one room until you feel it's under control and then move on to another area.
Remember this: Organizing is not about Pinterest worthy, color coded eye candy. It's about being able to find your stuff in a way that makes sense to you so you don't feel overwhelmed and stressed out in your space. It applies to your house, your office, your car or your yacht. You should be surrounded with things that make you happy, not crazy!
2. Get a routine. I know, everyone is busy and most of us don't like to be told what to do and when to do it. So we rebel and don't get a routine or we have one but don't stick with it for long. I get it. But what a routine does is it takes the decision making part of the cleaning process out of the equation. If you have to decide every single week where to begin cleaning and tidying your space, it's likely to get too overwhelming and not get done at all. On the other hand, if you know that every day you start a load of laundry in the morning and then fold and put it away every night you will always be on top of your laundry and won' t need to consider why you don't ever have any clean underwear. It doesn't really matter what your routine is, what matters is that you actually do it. For example, you could decide that every night after work you could spend fifteen minutes and not a minute more working on one of these areas:
vacuuming or sweeping/mopping the main area of your space
wiping down your main bathroom surfaces
collecting all the garbage and recycling and taking it outside
wiping down all your kitchen counters and cabinet fronts
spot cleaning mirrors, door knobs and windows
If you assigned a day for each of those activities and did it for just 15 minutes you would really begin to see a difference in the level of tidiness in your space. Pinky swear.
3. Complete the task. If you have ever started a task, worked on it for a while and then walked away without putting it away than this applies to you. (And who on earth doesn't do this??) Finish the task by putting away the stuff you used.
put the art supplies back in their home
put the toothbrush and toothpaste (with the lid on!) back in their cup
put the clean clothes back in their drawers and closets (not in the laundry baskets)
put the towels back on the rack after you've showered
put the paperwork back in the file and then file that file
Really, this is just about being aware of our actions. When we surround ourselves with these little undone tasks all over the place it's no wonder that it leaves us feeling like we're never getting anything accomplished!
4. Leave no trace. This idea piggybacks on the finish the task principal. You know when you go camping and you are supposed to "leave no trace" that you were ever there after you leave? It's the same idea. When you are ready for bed, tidy up your living room, put away the glass you used, hang up your robe and put away your shoes before you go crawl into bed. That way, when you wake up the next day, you're space will be fresh and ready for use without any stuff left out from the night before that you then have to a) ignore or b) deal with and put away.
5. Use cleaning tools that make you happy. Is your broom gnarly and needing to be replaced? Are your sponges and rags gross? How about your cleaning supplies? Do you need to don a mask because they smell so bad? Why make the act of cleaning itself such a downer? Invest in some fresh new supplies that are a pleasure to use (I love the Method line of cleaning products for this reason. They smell great and work beautifully.) and then USE them. Toss, recycle or donate any of your old stuff and promise yourself to treat yourself and your space better in the future.
Do you do any of these tips? Can you tell a difference when you do or don't do them? Do you have any tips or ways that you motivate yourself to keep your space tidied up? Let me know in the comments! I'd love to hear them!